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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  June 20, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

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proceedings of today if at all? >> reporter: a look at that thomas, because it is a serious assertion from the white house saying that those documents can't be sent over, in effect, because the president deserves to some privacy in the internal deliberations. republicans on the committee recognize that's an important power but sure if it really applies here. senator chuck grassley says how can the president assert the privilege for documents he claims he has not seen? so this is complicated, thomas, in part, because there's, of course, politics at play. there is also the reasonable role of congress that both democrats and republicans here acknowledge must have some oversight over things like what the department of yus tis does. there is also the controversy about the underlying issue of this program that went so terribly wrong. allowing guns to cross in to mexico and did result in the death of a brian agent, brian terry, and many mexican
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citizens. the department of justice okay knowledges it had the flaws but the fight is over who knew what when? we know that they provided incorrect information to congress saying that the program had not existed and that really raised all of these suspicions aenl set the ball rolling. the attorney general has taken steps including an independent investigation with an inspector general, he's also made some personnel moves. he says he's forthcoming and would be willing to give more documents but this is a political showdown with a real family that of brian terry saying they want answers and there's an election year playing out in front of us. here's a bit of what chairman issa had to say kicking this off this morning. >> this untimely assertion by the justice department falls short of any reason to delay today's proceedings.
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>> reporter: and so, what this would mean is a contempt of congress vote would start here in the committee, thomas. it could ultimately go to the full floor of the house and because republicans are in greater number it is more likely than not to pass. and at many steps along the way there could be a way to intervene and reach some sort of a deal to sort this out. but the committee that's involved here says that there are answers it still needs. democrats on the committee are upset saying that the attorney general has not been treated fairly or respectfully. and this is going to play out today and we expect quite a bit of tension as this hearing unfolds. thomas? >> nbc's kelly o'donnell for us from washington, thanks so much. i want to bring in the panel. joining us is erin mcpike of real clear politics. democratic strategist richard fowler and republican strategist john ferry. great to see all of you. er erin, eric hold every would not
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be the first attorney general found in contempt of congress and janet reno found in contempt by a committee in '98. former house advise council harriet miers and josh bolton in '07. how much of an impact do you think the vote has for eric holder and the wider implications of the obama administration? >> at this point, it doesn't seem like much. i think that the bigger issue is here for house republicans who look like they have an ax to find with the white house and taking the eye off the ball in terms of the economy and jobs which is what voters are talking about. thomas, i was just on the romney bus tour over the weekend and talking to voters and they really are only talking about jobs and the economy and debt. and this is not something that's resonating with voters throughout in the country at all. >> i want to ask you all to stand by right now. we were going to dip in when congre congresswoman holmes norton was speaking.
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elijah cummings now has the floor. but richard, either way this goes, is holder now potentially a political liability for the president, especially when we talk about the fact that this is the first time that president obama ever had to use an executive privilege as such in the course of his presidency? >> not at all, thomas. i don't think that eric holder is a liability for the president for a couple of reasons. one, we have seen leadership on this. he indicates there's questions about the fast and furious program and need to get to the bottom of the questions and order to get there, we have to start at the starting point which is 2006 under the george w. bush administration. and i think that's where it needs to start. what issa is doing is isolating eric holder and creates a political witch hunt. not the fact the program had questions to it. >> all right. talking about exactly what is being held out, it's documents past the february 4th of 2011, date. documents that the attorney general says are not related to the course of conduct of the
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investigation of fast and furious. so john, when you hear that, doesn't it look like this is some type of political witch hunt and as erin point out, makes it look as independents across the country there's an ax to grind from the right? >> i don't think so, thomas. let me say this. with the president cominging in at the last minute to say this is executive privilege, that's actually completely stunning given what the president said when he's running for president on the campaign trail saying that there's ooch executive privilege used by the bush white house. the fact of the fatter is the congress has a right and a duty to get to the bottom of the facts on this fast and furious case. and what is the president hiding now from eric holder and why is he asserting executive privilege? i think it's completely stunning and put a whole new political edge to this whole debate. >> when you talk about political edge and executive privilege, let's remind everybody where it stand in terms of a running tally and a score board.
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if you're talking about president george w. bush, six executive privileges were used during the course of his presidency. 14 under bill clinton. and just one so far in the first term of president barack obama. erin, as we look at the score board as john would like to point out, there's not been a lot of executive privileges used within the obama administration. so, there might be a valid point as to why they feel they need to at this point but is it the fact to stand up and fight back against what is as some called from this hearing itself a witch hunt? >> they do. and look. you know, one of the criticisms about the president is especially from his own base that he hasn't stood up to the republican party as much as they would like to see and between the order on friday that stopped the deportation of some illegal immigrants and then this executive privilege order today, it looks like he's starting to show fight in him and resonate with the base opposed to what
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john might be suggesting. >> all right. richard, thinking about the fact that as we cannot forget in this that the border agent brian terry lost his life out of all of this, there's a ripple effect for the family of brian terry, for the colleagues, the border k agents, for everybody that puts themselves in the line of fire trying to protect our country but are people losing sight of the real problem? >> that is it. it's too much of inside baseball. i think it east lost touch with the american people and that's where we have seen eric cantor say. it takes us off message and off focus. the american people care about jobs, they care about the economy, and they care about getting back to work and what we have seen congress do is stalled on the eric holder issue a couple weeks ago with sex select abortions and creating jobs in this country and working with the president and what the president has done is try angulating himself against the congress saying i will do
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everything within my power to make sure that people who came to the country no fault of their own stay in the country and executive privilege today, showing the true leadership and republicans continue to quabl over who did it and the witch hunt. >> let's listen in. >> to all of us and it appears thoroughly to us that the department is really trying to figure out a way to push the information away from their political appointees at the department. talking about the department of justice. those are things we should be concerned about. nobody wants to put a conclusion to this more than chairman issa. i want to put a conclusion to this. everybody on the panel should want a conclusion to this. now, when these problems and challenges came up to the gsa, they dealt with them. martha johnson stepped down. >> the congressman saying he, himself, congress issa want a conclusion to this. what's the political ground to be gained by seeing it drawn out?
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>> well, thomas, let me say first of all there's the campaign and then there's the responsibility to govern. and actually, this committee has a responsibility to do oversight over the department of justice. and let's not kid ourselves. the department of justice had a lot of big problems lately. they lost the case against john edwards, lost the case of roger clemens and doing these things and wasting taxpayer money. they need oversight and that's a responsibility of governance. i think issa is doing the right thing to get to the bottom of what's obviously a scandal that led to the loss of a border agent. this is something that really the government -- the congress has a responsibility to look in to and by asserting executive privilege, i think the president's really doing a disservice to the american people. and that doesn't necessarily have to be a big campaign issue but it's a part of the function of government. >> thanks to all three of you for joining us. we'll continue to watch this hearing.
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coming up, speaking to two members of this committee, democrat peter welch and republican john mica who was speaking earlerier. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ...more talk on social security... ...but washington isn't talking to the american people. [ female announcer ] when it comes to the future of medicare and social security, you've earned the right to know. ♪ ...so what does it mean for you and your family? [ female announcer ] you've earned the facts. ♪ washington may not like straight talk, but i do. [ female announcer ] and you've earned a say. get the facts
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welcome back, everybody. we continue to watch the hearing taking place in washington, d.c. right now the house committee to decide whether or not to give a contempt vote for attorney general eric holder in reference to the fast and furious investigation. right now, carol maloney is speaking for the second time. the president did invoke executive privilege just before the committee meeting convened this morning. >> the president's assertion of executive privilege creates even more questions. >> i am horrified that you are going forward with this contempt
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charge when the president of the united states and the administration have invoked executive privilege. >> joining me now from capitol hill is democratic cromwell much. good to have you here. i just got this handed here for a minute from spokesperson of speaker boehner. the white house decision to invoke executive privilege implied that white house officials were either involved in the fast and furious operation or the cover-up that followed. in your opinion, why not just hand over the documents? >> well, you know, i actually don't know the terms of executive privilege and whether i agree with it or i don't but the cover-up accusation is kind of strange. i support a full investigation. i want to get to the truth. that's what chairman issa says and i support the use of contempt charge if there's
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evidence of stone walling but we have to have credibility and not seen as a political vendetta and two things are suspect right now. number one, the investigation is not investigating the folks who were there at the scene when this whole fast and furious policy was developed. in effect, the eyewitnesss. the chairman refused to interview the bush administration officials who were this ones that cooked up this policy. that's really a major glaring lack. number two, the subpoena up until last friday was asking the attorney general to do things to require him to break the law, turn over grand jury testimony, a violation of the rules of criminal procedure. turn over transcripts of wiretaps, a violation of the united states code. so, i say let's step back, let's, in fact, get to the bottom of it but bring in the eyewitnesss, officials who were responsible when this policy was developed. have a complete investigation and follow it to wherever it
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takes us. >> sir, from politico's 44 blog, apparently attorney general eric holder asked the president on use in letter form to take action stating that the information that this committee is looking for and the documents have -- were generated in the course of conduct of fast and furious post the investigation that look tas and the tactics that were used. when we know that this is, you know, not what was originally asked for, and it doesn't -- it's not in the complete per view of what's the official investigation, what is the point of the congressman trying to go after those documents when he knows they're not a part of the official investigation? >> well, it's a question many of us are asking. i mean, this is a tragic loss of life. it was a bad policy but initiated in the bush administration. so you simply have to go to the source. and that's the then attorney general, the then head of the atf and chairman iss an is
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refusing to do that so there's a kind of stone walling in the investigation. and then requesting document that is don't have anything to do with the underlying issue which makes it subpoena suspect. and essentially do we have a drive to get to the truth or is there simply a lust for the committee to impose contempt of mr. holder? that's the question that i think is out there right now given the failure of the committee to basically go to the eyewitnesss and do a complete investigation. >> congressman, this is the president's first executive privilege and he was critical of other presidencies who have used executive privileges to remind everybody. president george w. bush used six. bill clinton used 14. president bush -- h.w. bush used one. isn't this risky, do you think, for the democrats and the president to go ahead and make and invoke an executive privilege that the time?
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>> it is. because there's a constant tug of war between the legislature and the executive. the legislature generally wants to get more than the executive wants to give. and that happens in republican and democratic administrations. but when any privilege is invoked, the person who feels rejected by the use of that privilege oftentimes draws conclusions about motivations or hiding or cover-up. i don't have an opinion right now of the president's executive privilege call since i haven't seen it. it just came out today but it's risky. >> congressman peter welch, we'll let you get back to work. thanks for joining us. we'll speak to republican john mica member of the that committee and seeing him speak earlier in the last hour. again, they're moving closer to this vote of con sempbt of congress, a vote for eric holder. do you see it ?
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continuing now to follow that breaking news coming to us from capitol hill. the house oversight committee is moving ahead on a contempt vote of attorney general eric holder over documents of the fast and furious investigation. members of the committee trading fire over the president invoking executive privilege just before today's meeting convened. coming up here in moments, we'll have a chance to speak with congressman mica stepping out from the meeting and how that committee is moving forward. now we move on to another story and take you to bellefonte, pennsylvania, where it may be jerry sandusky's last chance to speak on his own behalf. however, will his defense team take that chance? within the hour, lawyers for the former penn state assistant football coach expected to wrap up their side of the criminal trial. and an emotionally charged case in which eight young men gave testimony of abuse they
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allegedly suffered of sandusky's hand. the most compelling was his wife dottie breaking six months of of silence on tuesday to tell jurors that the man she married could have never done the thing that is his accusers claim. michael isikoff is live in bellefonte with the latest. michael, the recess for court, it just broke, right, to bring everybody back at 11:00 a.m.? do we know details of jerry sandusky and the other witnesses? >> a lot of tension inside that courtroom right now. we were supposed to go back in session at 11:00. if jerry sandusky's going to testify, it's going to be right now. at about 11:10, the recess went long. sandusky was in the courtroom. his lawyers motioned him to a conference room just outside the court to confer and then after about about five minutes both the lawyers and sandusky emerged to go back to the judge's
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chambers so clearly there are some very intense discussions going on right now about whether sandusky's going to take the witness stand. his lawyers may be saying, look, jerry, are you sure you want to do this? outlining what could happen, what could not. we actually don't know but we should know any minute whether sandusky takes what's going to be the biggest gamble of his life. >> michael isikoff there in bellefon bellefonte. thanks so much. joining me now to talk about this and the defense strategy is former prosecutor and defense attorney b.j. bernstein who specializes in child and sexual abuse cases. as you listen to this and we all wait for the definitive word about whether or not jerry sandusky will take the stand, what are the pros and cons of having him testify or not? >> well, the prois that if he didn't do it, you know, jurors like to hear you say, i didn't do this.
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the big con here is that nbc interview with bob costas did where when he did speak the whole nation thought, oh my gosh, he could have done it. and whether that's going to affect the -- actually, one or two good days that sandusky's defense had in poking some holes and creating some doubts, potentially for this jury. and with what's going on right now, i know this firsthand. this decision is a huge one. and they are back in the back either telling him either way he decides making the judge making sure that it is his decision because it's not lawyers' decision. it is the client's decision at this point. >> you make a good point of the interview of bob costas said are you attracted to young boys? sandusky repeated the question and elongated an answer. instead of saying absolutely not as people looked at that to say that would be my gut reaction if i'm an innocent person. talking about yesterday, though,
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b.j., the testimony of dottie sandusky, she was pretty strong and took a lot of shots at the alleged victims in this calling one of them clingy. giving some, you know, unkind remarks about the behavior of the at-risk kids part of the second mile charity. >> she's definitely going to be sympathetic. and that's something that's going to affect the jury but the flip side of this for the jury is compare her to the testimony of mcqueary. he gave some very compelling testimony, eyewitness testimony and it's not someone to naturally want to go against sandusky. so that's going to be the point that the jury has to weigh that there's no scientific of the credibility and believability of a witness and is the wife just supporting her husband or is she ignoring some signs that could have been there for her? >> we'll see how it plays out for everybody. keeping a very close eye on this and bringing minute by minute
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updates. former prosecutor, defense attorney, b.j. bernstein, great to have you on and maybe bring you back if we get more details out of bellefonte, pennsylvania. thank you. >> i'm waiting to see, as well. thanks. >> all right. a house committee voting shortly on whether to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt of congress. shortly before the vote, though, the white house stepped in and invoked executive privilege. i'll talk with congressman mica about the temperature inside that room. this message. back from the worst economic depression. almost 4.3 million new jobs we're still not creating them president's jobs plan firefighters, police officers, work. right now. wealthiest americans congress refuses to act. tell congress we can't wait.
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elijah cummings before the contempt rote this morning, a sentiment shared of most democrats on the hill an agreement could have been reached to avert today's outcome. just before the committee meeting began, the white house asserted expectative privilege. nbc's kristen welker is live at the white house with more on this. what more do we know about the agreement and the committee got word just before the start of the hearing? >> reporter: right. good morning, thomas. the white house believes this was necessary to assert executive privilege to essentially protect documents that have never been released to congress before. these are documents that relate to congressional inquiries, media inquiries, in to the fast and furious operation. senior administration officials telling me, look, 7,600 documents turned over to congress. that's been 11 congressional hearings. they believe that the justice department has been cooperating completely with these hearings, with these investigations so
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they believe that this was the appropriate move. but i the tell you, thomas, the white house is coming under some fire for asserting expect i privilege this morning. house speaker john boehner's office released this statement, saying the white house decision to invoke executive privilege implies that white house officials were seethe e either in the operation or the cover-up that followed. asked a senior administration official about the claims. that official essentially said that those claims have no basis in reality. and pointed to the fact, look, really there is a strong precedent for this type of action. former president george w. bush asserted six executive privileges, clinton asserted 14. we have seen this in the past however as you see however the white house coming under some heat for asserting the expectative privilege in this instance. we are in the middle of an election year, of course, so
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both sides accusing each other of playing politics with this. the white house certainly watching the proceedings this morning, quite closely. and again, reiterating the fact that they believe that attorney general eric holder has been completely cooperative with the proceedings. thomas? >> as you point out, over 7,600 pages of documents have been submitted for this house committee to view in this oversight investigation. i think a lot of people believe if there's nothing to hide then why not release these documents? but then on the other side of things for the documents that they're requesting, it is not within the purview or the window as i understand it and why eric holder asked the president to issue this executive privilege to say they don't have a right to look over any of the discussions past february 4th of 2011. >> reporter: that's an important point, thomas. these documents that the white house is essentially protecting are -- essentially document that is occurred years after the actual fast and furious operation.
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so they don't believe they have any bearing on what actually took place here. they believe that the time frame of the documents is important and is essential and essentially makes them unnecessary to be reviewed in this instance. they point to the fact that they have already turned over 7,600 documents and that there have been 11 congressional hearings. but again, they're certainly coming under a lot of heat for asserting this executive privilege. i read to you a bit from house speaker john boehner's note issued from his office this morning. and senator chuck grassley with a statement asserting similar things, that why is the -- what is the white house hiding? is the white house somehow involved this? again, senior administration officials pushing back strongly against the assertions. thomas? >> thanks so much. we'll keep a very close eye on that hearing. just a reminder that florida republican congressman john m a
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mica, a member of what committee will step out shortly an talk with us about what's going on inside that room and also his reaction to the president's executive privilege announcement this morning. want to give you a look at other stories topping the news right now. today marking the first official day of summer. and mother nature is not playing around. the heat is rolling in right on schedule. the national weather service issued heat advisories for some cities and district of columbia. we check in with meteorologist eric fisher live for us in washington with more. eric, again, mother nature not fooling around. she is coming in on the first day of summer and saying i'm here for the summer and the fall. >> reporter: it's hard to imagine what the rest of the summer will be like here, thomas, an of the spring record shattering for many folks, especially in the midwest and here on the east coast, saw the warmest spring on record. kicking off summer, still going at it. over 90 degrees at 11:00 a.m. here in washington, d.c. the sixth 90-degree day of the
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year. look across the country, wisconsin, down across the south, in to the southwest, everybody over 90 degrees for high temperatures today. but the big issue, getting the summer months, the fact that the heat index really starts to become a factor and today that heat index up around 105 degrees. here, washington, d.c., philadelphia, new york city, that's dangerous for your health. that's a type of territory where you don't want to be out in the midday sun for too long. finding the shelter under the trees and buildings between the reports. you don't want to be sleeping out air conditioning or a fan because when the lows of 80 degrees is dangerous on your body. check on friends and family to make sure they're okay. >> i can tell a little bit of a breeze and probably not bringing much relief but downwind of opening the oven door. >> reporter: if i could have my cameraman mike pan down a little bit. we have artificially enhanced the breeze at our spot. >> there you go. now i figured it out.
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>> where's your wind screen on the lav mike, buddy. now i figured it out. eric fish we are the weather channel. good to see the shorts and the fan. >> reporter: oh, yeah. taking all the precautions and going through plenty of water today. no coffee or sugary drinks for the folks throughout. >> thanks so much. a house committee voting shortly on whether to hold attorney general holder in contempt of congress. we are following the story all morning and shortly before the vote the white house stepped? and invoked an executive privilege on certain documents. i'll talk with congressman micm, he's a member of the house oversight committee. [ male announcer ] ok, so you're no marathon man. but thanks to the htc one x from at&t, with its built in beats audio, every note sounds amazingly clear. ...making it easy to get lost in the music... and, well... rio vista?!! [ male announcer ] ...lost. introducing the musically enhanced htc one x from at&t.
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. if we would close down the investigation, today the president's proclaiming executive privilege is an outrage, again, there's no basis for executive privilege. we had an agent of the united states killed with drugs that were supplied by a plan that went sour devised by the department of justice. this is a serious matter and our
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committee has the jurisdiction should investigate this and get all the information and documents relating to this major disaster in the history of the department of justice. >> sir, when you talk about the documents and the dribble you refer to released to you and the committee, over 7,600 pages of documents. >> yeah. i heard your apoll gist, an announcer talking about that from the white house. there are close to 100,000 documents and communications we have identified. now i'm even more concerned that they set the february 4th deadline because february 4th, 2011, until 11 months forward, they denied that there was even anything going on here. >> but sir -- >> again -- >> i think you're referring to the white house reporter kristen welker talking about -- >> okay. well then, the white house reporter who's being an apoll gist for the white house.
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let me clarify that. and the 7,600 documents. that's a selective distribution. selective information to the committee. this is a committee with investigative jurisdiction. again, over the department of justice which has been involved an incident at which a federal agent was murdered with weapons that supplied by the department of justice. this isn't a game. and again, we should get each and every document relating to this incident. not some game played last night or some injection by the white house today. and if the white house knew any time from february 4th, 2011, to current of what was going on, then there's really big trouble. >> sir, when we talk about the fact that the investigation by the department of justice goes up until that date of february the 4th, you are not entitled to the document that is are after that date so is it just sour grapes and looking like an ax to
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grind -- >> we're entitled to any and all documents relating to this case. period. >> not if the president issues -- >> that's absolutely not the case. that's not the case. presidents have exerted that before and, again, that can be contested. executive privilege is when there are issues of national security, appointments, international situations. this is a possible criminal act, and actions by the department of justice in which an agent of the united states government was killed by weapons supplied by the department of justice. so, executive privilege, we'll contest that every hour of the day. >> representative mica, we'll let you go and get back to work. thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> we'll be back with much more. [ male announcer ] this is rudy.
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i'm going to take you back now to the house committee oversight committee taking place in washington, d.c. about the contempt vote for attorney general eric holder. let's listen in to democratic congressman clay. >> to reject this citation. >> i thank the gentleman. who else seeks recognition? the gentle lady of new york is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you on behalf of this committee for your efforts to really do due diligence and to get us to the point where we're ensuring that officials are held accountable for the irresponsible tact ticks used in this very flawed operation which resulted in the death of brian terry. brian terry's been dead over 500 days days now and still, no one has been held accountable. >> congresswoman talking about
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the border agent that was killed as a result of the fast and furious operation. we will bring in nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. he's standing by in washington and has been listening all morning for us. pete, obviously the president issuing an executive privilege for certain documents was a big stunner, prior to the beginning of this committee hearing. however, it hasn't slowed anything down which will most likely result in this contempt vote moving forward for eric holder, correct? >> yes. i think that seems pretty clear that republicans have the votes. it will pass through the house committee, then it goes to the house floor and if the full house passes it, then we begin a trip through a hall of mirrors here and here's what -- there's a federal law, thomas, that says that if congress passes a contempt citation, the u.s. attorney in washington, d.c. shall, uses the word shall, convene a grand jury and consider criminal prosecution. now, it's a misdemeanor, but what the justice department under both parties, as a matter of fact, most recently the
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republicans took this position during the george w. bush administration that when a president asserts executive privilege, the u.s. attorney can't take any action. so you know, that would be the next step here. but in any event, thomas, the fact is that congress has done this about, i don't know, 15 times i guess since watergate, found an executive branch official in contempt, and the courts have never answered the question of who wins these things. the courts sort of begged the parties to work this out on their own and almost always, they are worked out that way. ultimately, something is worked out. so i don't know what the end game is going to be here, but the fact is the courts hate to step into these things. >> nbc's pete williams reporting in washington for us. we'll continue to watch this. thanks so much. we want to go to breaking news we're getting out of bellefonte, pennsylvania, where i just learned the defense has rested in the jerry sandusky case
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without calling jerry sandusky to the stand. you'll recall that there has been a lot of speculation about whether he would take the stand and go under oath within this hour to have his own defense heard by the jurors there, but the defense has gone ahead to rest its case currently and jerry sandusky has not taken the stand. they just came back from a court recess after 11:10 this morning and there was again this wild speculation of whether or not he would take the stand, and the defense decided not to call him. all right. we're moving on now and talking about the politics of the day. mitt romney will also get a chance to address what he would do about immigration. this is coming up in a big appearance scheduled for tomorrow in the wake of president obama's decision to change policy on young undocumented immigrants. mitt romney will speak to the national association of latino elected and appointed officials. arturo vargas is executive director of that group and joins us. good to have you here and the individuals within your conference tomorrow will undoubtedly want more specifics
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from the governor on his economic plans for latinos but also more details about his stance on immigration policy since the president's executive order. what are you hopeful, what are you expecting to hear? >> well, we're hopeful and expecting to hear that both governor romney and the president will address the full spectrum of issues that latino elected and appointed officials are concerned about. certainly the economy and jobs are at the top of the list, but our broken immigration system is something that many of our members are extremely frustrated over, and many are grateful that the president has taken a small step to address that broken immigration system with his announcement last week. but overall, we want to hear from both governor romney and the president, how will they work with the new congress to make sure we can fix this broken immigration system. >> sir, former governor jeb bush is also going to be speaking at this event. he's been a strong voice in terms of outreach towards latino voters from within the gop. should he even,senator rubio, be part of internal discussions to
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help mitt romney with a message that will really connect with the voters, especially with mitch mcconnell saying the overall party position will be mitt romney's? >> well, i think we'll have a very important voice in the republican party when governor jeb bush addresses our conference as well. he's been an advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. i think he understands the importance of latinos and the role we play in the future of america and he wants to moderate his party on this issue. i think his message will be a welcome message. we're also eager to hear from senator rubio. he himself was proposing some kind of legislation that would move forward the principles of the dream act. we're eager to hear what he has to say and what his plans are for the remainder of this congressional session. overall, what our members want to hear from the leadership of this country is how can they work with them in partnership to move our country forward. >> lot of people will be looking to see if there will be specifics from that speech mitt romney will deliver tomorrow. arturo vargas, thanks for your
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time. i appreciate it. that's going to wrap things up for me. thanks for your time. see you back here tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern. until then, follow me on twitter. don't go anywhere. "now" with alex wagner is coming up, another edition from washington, d.c. hi, alex. the separation is going to end after today, thomas. i will be back in new york, my friend. it is a big day in washington, however. exerting executive privilege, holding a cabinet member in contempt. we will bring the latest installment of the fast and the furious. meanwhile, after two days focusing on his day job, president obama is back in campaign mode, and we are watching the fed, how connected is ben bernanke to president obama's re-election? plus the latest from egypt and what the future may look like for democracy in the middle east. when "now" from d.c. starts in a mere 180 seconds. if we took the nissan altima and reimagined nearly everything in it? gave it greater horsepower and best in class 38 mpg highway...
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action-packed multi-installment hollywood blockbuster or action-packed multi-installment washington scandal? two hours ago, president obama channeled his inner vin diesel announcing that the white house will exert executive privilege over the fast and furious memos, but can it stop congressman darrell issa from revving his engine? it's wednesday, june 20th and this is "now." >> joining me today, msnbc policy analyst, ezra klein of the "washington post." msnbc political analyst and former rnc chair, the notorious michael steele. cnbc chief washington correspondent, john harwood of the "new york times" and the lovely kasie hunt of the associated press. the white house is locking horns with republican leaders in congress today. president obama exerted
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executive privilege over justice department documents demanded by the house oversight committee. the committee is voting today on whether attorney general eric holder should be held in contempt of congress for refusing to turn over those documents. committee chairman darrell issa said the executive privilege should have been ordered eight months ago when they first requested the material. >> more than eight months after a subpoena and clearly after the question of executive privilege could have and should have been asserted, this untimely assertion by the justice department falls short of any reason to delay today's proceedings. >> joining us now, nbc news capitol hill correspondent, kelly o'donnell. tell us what this development means as far as the contempt of court vote. >> well, what's happening now is there are really a couple things happening simultaneously. darrell issa, chairman of this committee, says his people are taking a look at this assertion

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